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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Apr 12, 2008

The Daily News has had a number of visitors over the last week or so regarding advertisements in the Estherville Spirit by Iowa CCI, or Citizens for Community Involvement. One of the ads has a map of Emmet County with 67 hog confinements and asks the question: “What is this map going to look like in 5 years?”

Quite frankly, we’re surprised that we’ve had just a few visitors.

The policy of the Daily News and Spirit is to run any advertisement that is not deliberately libelous or that in any way maligns a person’s character, whether we agree with it or not. Since the ads did not appear to be libelous, we published them.

We also agree, though, that pork producers have their side of the story to tell.

Iowa is number-one for pork production for a good reason. As the nation’s top corn producer, we also have the feed as well as open space for confinements. Ours is a rural state, and as a rural state, it is our moral obligation to be the engine that drives America’s food chain. It goes beyond that, though. Iowa feeds the world.

Since people in the city of limits of Estherville, Armstrong, Ringsted, Dolliver, Gruver, Wallingford, Huntington, and Maple Hill might object to a hog confinement next door, there aren’t any. Instead, confinements are located in the country. That’s where hogs belong.

We do wonder about the relative concentration of confinement operations, though. Some are heavily clustered in certain areas, which could cause problems for neighbors. In some cases, it doesn’t matter from which direction the wind is blowing. A few unfortunate neighbors are never going to be away from the smell of a hog confinement.

It’s that very fact that gives steam to CCI’s argument. Unless the pork industry is willing to sit down at the table and adopt some good neighbor standards for the entire industry, it’s going to be prone to criticism and attacks. Corral enough people with the “smell of money” and eventually they’ll hire a lawyer and get some of that money away from you.

Having the pork industry police itself is more than being just a good neighbor. It’s just plain good business sense.